There were more than 20,000 people at the sold-out show, and they were all singing with the band. I added my voice, singing along to songs I’ve loved for 2 decades. I had been on my feet for hours and my legs were aching, but I couldn’t have cared less. This was Pearl Jam. And I was in the pit.
I’ve been to lots of concerts and seen lots of bands, and most of the time proximity to the stage isn’t terribly important to me. As long as I can hear well and see a bit, I’m good. But Pearl Jam is special to me – one of the rare bands of my youth that is still as important to me now as it was then. So on my bucket list – attending a Pearl Jam show and being close to the stage.
Lee and I entered the fan club lottery to be in the stage-front pit for the Pearl Jam show in Charlotte, and were lucky enough to get in. The night of the show, we filed in to the roped off section a couple of hours before the concert started, and found ourselves about seven people back from the stage.
And it was unreal. I’ve seen them before, from the comfort of an arena seat – but at that distance it’s hard to appreciate how much fun these guys are having. They were full of energy, constantly interacting with the crowd, looking for ways to connect with the audience. Because the stage lights were so bright, I couldn’t see much past the pit. That meant the rest of the arena was in darkness to me, and I could almost imagine we were in a mid-sized club. It was fascinating.
And then three-quarters of the way through the show, the band launched into Porch. During the guitar break, Eddie hopped off the stage and perched himself on top of the fence at the front of the pit. The crowd behind me began to surge, and I was pushed forward. And then this.
The band played for 3 hours – 3 glorious hours. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever experienced, and it has ruined me. How can I ever see Pearl Jam again from an arena seat, now that I’ve experienced the pit?
A good problem to have.